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Senate Passes Gillibrand's Merchant Marine Sexual Assault Reform Bill

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.
J. Scott Applewhite
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., questions Marine Gen. Robert B. Neller, the commandant of the Marine Corps, at a Senate Armed Services Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington in March.

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s legislation to reform the way sexual assaults are reported at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy has passed the Senate.

Gillibrand says the Merchant Marine Academy Improvement Act will protect midshipmen both on campus, and at sea.

The legislation, which is part of the National Defense Authorization Act, now goes to the House of Representatives.

The bill establishes the role of a sexual assault response coordinator, and gives midshipmen access to a 24-hour SAFE helpline.

At sea, midshipmen would have access to satellite communications to report assaults.

A 2016 survey by the Merchant Marine Academy found that almost 20 percent of female midshipmen, and just under one percent of male midshipmen were sexually assaulted, but that only four incidents were reported.

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